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October 16 2017

No, NFL Protests Aren't About the Gender Pay Gap

by Patrice Lee Onwuka

In a desperate attempt to justify the NFL protests of the national anthem, one prominent supporter claims they are now fighting the gender pay gap.

CNN contributor and former NFL receiver Donté Stallworth said this weekend that the NFL kneeling protests are about the "gender pay gap" as well as "housing discrimination." This is in addition to police brutality toward minorities and racism. He explained:

“The No. 1 stated goal was to bring awareness to a lot of these issues and again, it's a broad spectrum of issues. Again, it’s not just police brutality and community policing.

"It’s also, again from what I’m hearing from players directly involved in these talks, they’re telling me it’s also about the gender pay gap, it’s also about housing discrimination, they have so many things that they are interested in and advocating for and they want the NFL to take ownership in and help be able to use the NFL’s platform," Stallworth added.

Gender pay gap? Housing discrimination? These are almost certainly new issues that we haven’t heard before and begs the question what was the original motivation for the protests?

Colin Kaepernick, former San Francisco quarterback who inspired the protests last year, explained:

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

Eric Reid, the first player to join Kaepernick, penned a New York Times essay about why he took a knee, but the gender pay gap wasn’t on his list either:

I approached Colin the Saturday before our next game to discuss how I could get involved with the cause but also how we could make a more powerful and positive impact on the social justice movement. We spoke at length about many of the issues that face our community, including systemic oppression against people of color, police brutality and the criminal justice system.

Our criminal justice system is broken and in need of reforms at the federal and state level. Conservatives and libertarians have been working hard to pursue those reforms. However, these protests do nothing to win support to the cause of justice reform – especially from those who are agnostic or disagree.

There’s also a level of hypocrisy here. Stallworth claims players are shedding light on equality for women, but what about misogyny and violence against women by some of these same NFL players? Broadly assembled a roster of players accused of sexual assault or sexual misconduct and domestic violence against women. Some of these players were found innocent and we don’t know if all the allegations are true.

Instead of focusing on society, they should take the beam out of their own eyes and fix the behavior of these young men.

The left has used these NFL protests to divide Americans in an unproductive way. The #resist movement co-opted the protests to whip up anger against President Trump and his administration.

Americans are smart and are responding by tuning out NFL games. Ratings are down for this NFL season by reportedly more than 7 percent compared to last season and 18 percent compared to 2015. Polling suggests that protests are one of several factors are drawing Americans away from watching the NFL.

It's time for these protests to take a knee.

 

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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